Mark Cheng, Director Ashoka UK
Mark is the Director of Ashoka UK, as well as Ashoka’s senior advisor on social finance, a role sponsored by international law firm Hogan Lovells.
Since joining Ashoka originally as an ASN member in 2007, he has assisted many Fellows in raising investment for social causes, in areas including micro-finance, renewable energy, conservation, healthcare and education. Mark is also advisor to several international Ashoka initiatives such as Globalizer, a program for Fellows expanding their work into multiple countries. Mark is founding Director of Chelwood Capital, a social investment firm that supports mission-driven organizations. He has more than 15 years experience in finance, having previously worked at Deutsche Bank and AMBAC Assurance. He serves as Board Member and Trustee for several social enterprises, including two set up by Ashoka Fellows - Sight of Emotion, which works with blind people, and Partnerships for Youth Empowerment (PYE) Global, a leading youth-development charity. Mark is also a business mentor for the Emerge Venture Lab, an incubator for UK student social ventures.
Rob Wilson, Strategy Director
Rob is a serial social entrepreneur. He founded READ International in 2004 to send used books to schools in East Africa. Books not relevant are sold online or recycled to generate funding. They’ve sent over 1 million books and have won awards including Best International Aid and Development Charity. Rob moved on from READ in early 2011 to co-write a book about social entrepreneurs in Africa called On the Up. Rob is also a founding director at an IT social enterprise called NoPC and has started a publishing social business called Wripped. Rob joined Ashoka UK in October 2011 as Entrepreneur in Residence.
Julia Koskella, Venture Associate
Julia joined Ashoka in 2012 to lead on the Venture process in the UK. Prior to working at Ashoka, Julia was part of the operations team at Global Giving and worked for an indigenous rights NGO in Ecuador. Julia graduated from Oxford University with a first class degree in Human Sciences. Whilst at University she was Chair of the Environment and Ethics Committee and acted as the founding director of the Oxford Climate Forum.
Clarice Ramalho, Operations Manager
Clarice joined Ashoka in February 2012 to coordinate events and assist the Ashoka Support Network global leadership team. She is now responsible for revamping the UK operations, boosting the office productivity and strategically mapping stakeholders’ interactions. Prior to joining Ashoka, she ran a travel agency in Brazil and worked as an International Marketing Executive at Auvergne Tourist Board in France. She holds a Master’s degree in Sustainable Tourism, and was lured into the citizen sector by fascinating Ashoka Fellows when carrying out community-based tourism research in Brazil.
Felicity McLean, Communications and Partnerships
Felicity joined Ashoka in June 2012 to lead on Strategic Communications and Stakeholder Engagement, both online and off. As the founding member of a technology startup focussing on employee engagement in CSR, her skills combine partnerships, entrepreneurship and 'tech for good'. She's also a trustee for NGO Childreach International, has an MA in Geography, and a real passion for developing creative and value based partnerships.
Zuhura Plummer, Ashoka Support Network Manager
Zuhura brings six years experience from the social enterprise and international development sectors with a particular focus on enabling individuals with expertise to become involved in creating change. She has worked in the UK, Mongolia and Mumbai, the latter at Dasra, a strategic philanthropy foundation which scales mid-range social-purpose organisations, readying them for investment. Zuhura joined Ashoka in December 2012 as the Ashoka Support Network Manager.
Margherita Philipp, Communications and Marketing Associate
Margherita joined Ashoka UK in July 2012 as an intern with the Venture Team. She now works with the Communications team, researching and writing about our key sector themes, but also branches out to undertake individual projects or to support other teams. Margherita has just graduated from Oxford University, where she studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics. She was also part of this year’s cohort of Ethical Interns selected by Student Hubs. Her previous experience with social entrepreneurship mainly comes from working with a school in rural Kenya, setting up partnerships between the school and local social enterprises.
Caroline Guyot, Partnership Associate
Caroline joined Ashoka in October 2012 to work on partnerships and strategy. She holds two Masters degrees: one in history and one in diplomacy. Her previous experiences include consulting for a an international microfinance organisation in South Africa, supporting the growth of a young social enterprise in London and analysing African politics for a London think tank. She particularly likes to take on challenging projects, having been the president of a not-for-profit organisation focusing on education in Morocco and undertaking a documentary film project in East Africa.
Julie Whittaker, Communications Advisor
Julie Whittaker joined Ashoka in 2010 working as Communications Advisor to help raise the profile of the organisation. She brings with her over 15 years of experience in the communications industry working for a global PR agency and as an independent consultant following her passion to make a difference by working primarily in the areas of healthcare, public health and social entrepreneurship.
Her key achievements to date have included being part of a team setting up a "think/action tank" to raise awareness of the pandemic of chronic diseases bringing together people to form joined up thinking from academia, NGOs, government and corporations. In 2008 Julie was responsible for organising a global summit on social entrepreneurship in Thailand.
Silvia Giovannoni, Consultant, Ashoka Support Network
After a stint in the legal world, Silvia realized her passion was in addressing social challenges. After pursuing an MA in England, she joined Ashoka UK in 2006 to help set up the Ashoka Support Network, a network of business individuals who impact the work of Ashoka and Fellows by sharing expertise, networks and entrepreneurial experience. She now leads the ASN programme and enjoys working with this community on the tissues of scale and social investment. She is a trained facilitator and recently joined Partnership for Youth Empowerment (PYE) as regional Brazil coordinator. She is taking the methodology to São Paulo, using creative processes to transform the lives of young people.
Charlotte Beck, Venture Intern
Charlotte joined Ashoka in February 2013 as an intern with the Venture Team. She recently graduated from the Institute of Political Studies in Strasbourg with a Masters in Corporate Strategy and Finance in Europe, having focused on micro-finance and development. Charlotte has ongoing experience training marginalised youth enterprise skills in French suburban neighbourhoods and went all the way to Bangladesh to check out the sustainability of their micro-finance models.
Petya Gulubova, ASN Intern
Petya joined the Ashoka UK team as an ASN intern in March 2013. Prior to that she spent a gap year travelling around developing regions of the World, driven by her eagerness to learn more about the third sector and the role social entrepreneurs play in reshaping it. Petya’s former educational and professional background is in accounting and finance. However, she has always been extremely passionate about effecting social change. She is therefore very excited to be a part of the biggest international community of Changemakers™ at Ashoka!